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New HCC President Addresses Higher Ed Funding Concerns

Charlie Schlenker
Incoming Heartland Community Community President Keith Cornille.

Incoming Heartland Community Community President Keith Cornille on Tuesday signaled an optimistic view of state funding for higher education, even as he suggested a need for “more creative” local partnerships.

Cornille will replace retiring Heartland President Rob Widmer. Cornille is the former executive vice president for Madison Area Technical College.

Current state funding shows declining support of higher education as a public good. However, Cornille said he is optimistic.

“We saw the same thing in Wisconsin for a long time and then we started to demonstrate the successes that the community colleges, or in this case, in Wisconsin, the technical colleges were having on the workforce, with the impact that they were having on business and industries, and with that we started to see a change at the capitol,” Cornille said.

With declining state support, Cornille said HCC will have to look locally.

“We’re going to have to be more creative. We’re going to have to sit with our various partners—economic development corporations, workforce development boards, as well as community-based organizations—and figure out how we’d leverage the dollars that we have,” explained Cornille.

Cornille says HCC has already done a good job in forming financial structure.

He will start work at HCC’s campus this summer.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a photo of Cornille. A photo of another person was mistakenly used in an earlier version of this story.

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Becky Fletcher is a GLT social media and online writing intern, as well as a student at Illinois State University's School of Communication.
WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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